Episode 16 – 3 Scenarios Where Operations Can Accelerate Your Growth

Today, I am joined by Terri M. LeBanc, an Operations Strategist here at Business Laid Bare. We talk about three scenarios when improving your operations can have an orgasmic impact on your business.

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Episode Summary:

Today, I am joined by Terri M. LeBanc, an Operations Strategist here at Business Laid Bare. We talk about three scenarios when improving your operations can have an orgasmic impact on your business.

This episode holds a special place in my heart because I have worked through many personal mindsets and money blocks to get to where we are today. And I’ve come to realize and finally admit to myself the role operations have in how much money you and your business can make.

Here’s the thing, you can make money with so much more ease when you have well lubricated and efficient operations. And your confidence grows because you don’t have to wonder if your systems will support or fail you. Through our work with clients at all stages of business, we’ve experienced firsthand how money is directly tied into operations. The more efficient your operations are, the more money you make. Simple as that.

So I’m super excited to chat with Terri today about the three different scenarios in which we work with clients to improve their operations and set them up for success as they take their business to the next level.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • [00:48] Make money with more ease when you have well lubricated and efficient operations
  • [03:36] Scenario #1: A new business venture and getting things going
  • [06:55] Beginning with intention and focusing on a client’s specific needs
  • [09:52] Scenario #2: Building the plane while it’s flying
  • [11:40] Using the power of “slowing down to speed up” to make improvements
  • [14:50] Working within the limitations of a business to continue the flow of revenue
  • [17:52]  When you find that running your business is hard, it’s time to look at your internal operations
  • [20:09] Scenario #3: Preparing for substantial growth
  • [21:27] Leaning on the team and reinforcing strong foundations
  • [25:33] Getting to the next level and why growth does not have to be painful

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Resources Mentioned:

[00:00:01] Veronica Yanhs: Hey, I’m Veronica Yanhs and I’m obsessed with back-ends. Specifically, your business back-end, your operations. I’m the CEO and founder of Business Laid Bare. We’re a digital operations agency that builds well-lubricated and Orgasmic Operations ™ so that your business is pleasurable, productive and ultimately profitable because when you feel good, everything else feels good too, like your team, your customers and your bank account. I mean, who doesn’t want to consent to that? This podcast gives you the tips, interviews and mindset shifts, on how to run your business and its operations so that it’s immensely pleasurable, productive and profitable.

Ready to whip your business into shape with me? Let’s get it on.

Alright, so I’m here with Terri today, because we are going to be talking about a topic that is so near and dear to our hearts. Funny enough, like everything is near and dear to our hearts regarding operations. But this episode actually holds a special place in my heart, because I have worked through a lot of personal and mindset money, like shift block type of things to get to where we are today. I realized and finally admitted to myself, how much operations plays a role in how much money you and your business can make with ease and confidence and pleasure. I have learned through working with our clients this year and last year that you make money with so much more ease when you have well-lubricated and efficient operations.

The confidence piece comes in because you don’t have to wonder if your systems are going to support you. Or if your operations are going to fail you and you have to go back into your business and be that bottleneck, right? Money is tied directly to operations and the more efficient your operations are, the more money you make.

So, I’m super excited to chat with you today, Terri, about the three different scenarios in which we work with clients, and with each scenario that you are in, in your business, what we’ve done for our clients so that you kind of get an idea of what you need to do to take your business to the next level, and to avoid the growing pains that we’ve had to help our clients go through.

[00:02:22] Terri M. LeBlanc: And we’ve even gone through, right? I mean, we had to start somewhere.

[00:02:26] Veronica Yanhs: That’s true. So, what’s an example that you can think of?

[00:02:26] Terri M. LeBlanc: Well, I think about, we’ve iterated on our offerings and we’ve continued to improve them every – not every time, but almost on a regular basis, we find a better a different way to deliver that service and make it better for everyone involved.

[00:02:26] Veronica Yanhs: It always started with me going, “Terri, I am having a trouble”, or, “Terri, I desire x”, or “I desire more ease or more spaciousness.” I think the word I used was spaciousness. So, I love that you said that this is an iterative process, because you can’t like one night stand your operations. I mean, you can. It’s a free world out there. But our humble opinion is that you shouldn’t.

[00:03:14] Terri M. LeBlanc: That’s true. You should always be looking at them and looking for improvement.

[00:03:19] Veronica Yanhs: I love that. So, let’s just not waste any more time and let’s just dive into the three different scenarios in which we’ve worked with businesses, to help them take their business to the next level with the focus on efficient and Orgasmic Operations ™ so that you don’t have to repeat the same mistake.

Okay, so scenario one. This is when you have a new business venture. So, whether you are new in business, or you’re like many of our clients who are seasoned entrepreneurs, they’re starting a new venture. This is actually one of our favorite places to play, because your business is not kinky at all. There are no kinks in the hose. It’s almost like it’s a blank slate. We’ve had many clients come to us going, “Hey, I know that I want my operations done right from the get go. So, what can you do to make sure that everything that I do from the beginning of this venture to whenever I either sell it or take it to the next level is orgasmic?” What did you say one time, Terri, that it’s like a sandbox?

[00:04:27] Terri M. LeBlanc: Yeah. So, there’s a lot of different options out there, like how you want to run your business, everything from how you bring in clients, how you communicate with them, how you build them, you have to get paid. I’ve talked to a lot of clients and they become overwhelmed, because there’s so many choices out there. They don’t know, which is “the right choice”. You have to find and the one thing we do as a team is we look at the people first. We find out how somebody works best and how they want to interact with their clients, and how they want to interface with them, and then find the tool or tools that will help them deliver their services in a well lubricated fashion.

[00:04:27] Veronica Yanhs: Oh, that’s a great way to think about it because when something is brand new, it’s almost like you might have too many options to choose from, and you don’t know where to take your business. Especially when it comes to digital operations, it’s like, there are hundreds of different ways to do something. There are hundreds of different apps that almost all do the same thing, right? So, it’s a matter of having to figure out what it is that you need. We’ve had a couple of clients come through, all service based, wanting to know like, “Hey, our goal is to grow big. But we’re used to running businesses that exist. So, how do you help us create a business that works right off the bat?” And what do you say to that, when clients ask you that question?

[00:06:01] Terri M. LeBlanc: Well, we talk to them about what services they’re wanting to deliver, and how they envision, what’s their ideal scenario. Some people want to have a lot of one on one time with a client to get to know them and get to know how they can work with the client. There are others that prefer more interface via, it might be emails or submission of forms, or that type of thing to get that process started.

So, when you’re starting, I think the playground of the sandbox is really big and by working with us, we can make that a little bit more manageable. So, we can say, “Oh, yes, that’s possible”, or “No, that might make your process more difficult”, kind of give you almost the bumpers in the bowling alley, in a sense, right? Or to downsize that sandbox, so it fits in your backyard kind of situation.

[00:06:55] Veronica Yanhs: A lot of this begins with intention. Like we sit down with our clients, and we’re like, “Hey, what is it that truly lights you up?” Just because a business can run one way, it doesn’t mean that it might work for them. They are very much in tune with what has worked in the past, and what hasn’t, because these are not new business owners. And a big focus we always have is on pleasure. If it’s not orgasmic, don’t settle.

If you’re going to start a new venture, why started on it shoulds? Somebody says I need to do it this way. It’s like, you are the center of your business universe. So, whatever it is that we create, must revolve around you and must get you so damn excited to run your business. Because when you show up and exude joy and are running on pleasure, it ripples out to your team members and to your clients, and to people that haven’t even purchased from you, but can already feel the energy because of the way you show up.

[00:07:55] Terri M. LeBlanc: I found in my own personal life that if you’re doing something and you don’t like doing it, you’re more than likely not going to do it.

[00:08:03] Veronica Yanhs: Or procrastinate.

[00:08:04] Terri M. LeBlanc: Yeah, or procrastinate, until the very last second, and you have to do it. So, why not try to find the way that’s most pleasurable to do it and start there.

[00:08:14] Veronica Yanhs: Which by the way, procrastination is a huge operations leap. Because the ROI of your procrastination is so low and so bad, it just means that you are not working from your zones of genius or strength, because the more easily something comes to you, the more likely you’re going to be excited to do it, and the work quality is there. So yeah, kind of like a tangent to the side. If you’re procrastinating, it’s an operations issue and we got to figure out why. It’s not because you’re lazy. I feel like I’m lazy, sometimes. This is why we’re doing operations. I work hard once, so that I don’t have to work so hard the next time to achieve the same results.

[00:08:54] Terri M. LeBlanc: Bingo.

[00:08:56] Veronica Yanhs: If we were to give you an action item for this, like what we’ve done with clients is to create a business blueprint for them. So, we sit down with them, and we literally look at what it is that will make them money or what it is that they want to offer. Remember, our whole focus on operations is to help our clients make more money with ease, confidence and pleasure. So, our biggest focus is always what is it that you’re offering? Done. Okay, then what are all the systems that go into making sure that not only can you make money with ease on the offer, but then your support systems on the back-end, like project management, your knowledge base, client, onboarding, all that good stuff that doesn’t really have to do with money per se, but it’s very much tied in is taken care of and connected and making sure that that spiderweb of your operations is strong.

Okay, so, scenario two. This is the scenario where our clients are, as they like to describe themselves, building the plane as they fly it stage. So, unfortunately, when you are running and flying by the seat of your pants, totally pun intended, your business is inevitably a hot mess. Right? Is that fair if I say that, Terri?

[00:10:15] Terri M. LeBlanc: Yeah, you’re usually doing things you don’t want to do, you don’t like to do, but they need to be done in order for your business to function day-to-day. Many times, you will see this in a person that’s in the CEO role, someone leading the company that knows, and they may be founded to the company, they know it inside and out. But there’s something that’s not jiving, and they’re having to get involved in the day-to-day, and they don’t have time to do the things that they really love to do and work in their zone of genius.

[00:10:47] Veronica Yanhs: The reason why you want to work on your operations at this stage, especially is because growth is inevitable because as a CEO, you are good at networking, you are good at sales, right? So, growth is inevitable. But if your business is a hot mess now, that hot mess is going to carry with you from now to that whatever next version of your business is, and it’s going to be stressful. So, if your business is chafing, if your business has a lot of friction, if your business is putting out a lot of fires, team members are stressed, just because you make more money, doesn’t mean that those issues are going to go away. So, this is the one point where we will say, more money does equal more problems, because you are not addressing your operations to make your current business situation efficient, and working for you before you grow. So, Terri, what have we done here?

[00:11:40] Terri M. LeBlanc: I think the statement that you often make, Veronica, it really applies here. You have to slow down to speed up. We really work through each system area with a client to find out what chafes, how it can be better and what success looks like. Because once we know those pieces, then we can look to see, you start mapping out and auditing and figuring out processes and redeveloping things or rebuilding things. Usually, we’re not creating something new from scratch at this stage. It’s looking at what’s there and figuring out a better way to build the box.

[00:12:17] Veronica Yanhs: I love that. For instance, we had a client come to us and they’re like, “We’re making about half a million dollars, and we’re looking to double our revenue.” And then I just start asking questions, because that’s me. It comes to find out that making money and accepting money is actually pretty difficult for them because the CEO has to get involved, there’s the finance department. If she doesn’t get involved, there’s a bottleneck or if she does get involved there are sometimes bottlenecks as well. So, it’s like how ironic that your goal is to make more money. But to make that money happen, and to actually receive it is a lot of work and is a pain in the ass.

So, what we do in this stage is we pretty much audit everything that’s important. And when I say important, we always are looking forward, right? Because creating systems that work now, but not in the future. That’s not our game, because that’s just a waste of everybody’s time. We want to make sure that whatever systems we create for you now, also can grow with you as you scale in the future so that you’re not having to like emergency slam on the brakes.

What we do for a lot of our clients in this stage is we ask them like, “Hey, where is it that you want to go? Tell me your goals? Tell me your next one to two to three-year goals? What is the number that you want to work with in terms of active clients? What is the revenue number? How many team members do you want? All that good stuff. Or even if you want to maybe open another office, all of these things play in.

Now, contrast that with your current situation, what does that look like? And then it becomes quite apparent what those gaps are. What got you here, definitely won’t get you there. Because the systems that you need to grow aren’t even apparent in your operations now. So yeah, Terri, we do like a top-down audit, because you already have systems in place. Unlike the previous scenario, where you have no business, you’ve already have systems in place and most of the time, they’re pretty Band-Aid solutions, duct tape, bubble gum, those situations, and it’s not pretty. So, it’s a lot of –

[00:14:32] Terri M. LeBlanc: Usually, we see a lot of gaps. There’s something that’s not working, whether it’s communication getting dropped internally or with external clients. There’s the CEO having to get involved in a lot of different places where maybe it’s not necessary. So, you start seeing the fray in the operations at this stage and we try to knit those things back together.

[00:14:53] Veronica Yanhs: Or we throw out the entire version that you have and give you something completely new because what you had was just something half-assed put together that you don’t have any operations knowledge of and you thought this is how you had to operate because maybe other people did this way when you actually needed a whole new solution, to begin with.

So, this is a chance for us to totally undo the bad habits, give you new operations that were needed, but before we do that because you’re not a new business, we have to also play within the limitations of your business. We can’t just strip everything away, because then you won’t be making money, right? We want to keep having you make money without it being disturbed while we are putting those solutions in.

At this time of the scenario that we work with, we have to be cognizant of how do we insert change? How do we upgrade a business without disrupting it? This gives our CEOs a chance to finally be proactive. What we learned a lot from working with clients who have a hot mess business at the current stage, they constantly telling us that they are reactive and putting out fires and down in the weeds. And as CEOs, they don’t have a chance to look forward and to be that leader. So, at this stage, I feel like it’s the most crucial stage out of like, all the growing pains because you’re not a new business and things currently are working well. Your business is a hot mess now. It almost feels like running a business is a pain. You might just want to burn it all down because you’re so frustrated.

[00:16:30] Terri M. LeBlanc: This can be, it can be hard for a lot of clients too, because when you’re in this situation, you think, I’m the only one that’s dealing with this. There’s no other business out there, that’s as big of a mess as mine is. There’s no way. You’re not alone. We’re here to tell you, you’re not alone, there’s no shame. It’s great that you’re considering reaching out and trying to get help and get things under control. Because I’ve worked in situations where everything was a hot mess and we would see new employees come in and they wouldn’t last very long because they weren’t feeling like they were part of the team or they didn’t understand the processes or the work hours were atrocious.

Also, in those scenarios, you’re creating products or services, just to make the client happy and having to refund money or comp them in some way. It just becomes very stressful for everyone. So, I applaud you, if you’re in this stage and thinking, “I need to do something about this” because we’re here to help. I want to let people know that those people, they are not alone. There are other people out there like you. We should have a support group, right, Veronica?

[00:17:45] Veronica Yanhs: That would be fun. Because there’s always a better way. So, if you’re finding that running your business currently, it’s just really hard. Or that like getting clients or prospective clients to schedule a call with you, or once they’ve paid you because they’re so excited about what you’ve pitched to them and that onboarding experience to bring them into your world is like half-assed, subpar, mediocre, throw in whatever adjective you want there, that itself speaks to your reputation, right? If you have an amazing client onboarding experience that is ideally as automated as possible and retains that human white-glove touch so that it doesn’t feel robotic to your clients. They’re going to go raving to their friends, to their business colleagues, and these are one of the biggest things that we look at, right?

Just because we look at how you can make money with ease, we don’t just stop there, we look at how you can continue to make money by either increasing the lifetime value of your client or positioning you to be referral ready because if your operations are good, people are going to see how professional you are.

In this stage, the biggest systems that we always look at are like, offer systemization. How lather, rinse and repeat are your offers? If they are packaged in a way that minimizes scope creep, or minimizes extensions of timelines so that you’re just constantly working without getting paid, it allows you to be more efficient in delivering good results, and you know what you’re doing. So, looking at how you can deliver your results faster is really important here, making sure that your clients are onboarded, and also how you can manage your projects well.

We’re throwing in project management into this mix because it’s important to keep things organized in your business. So, a lot of our clients here are missing good project management because they just don’t have time to sit down and figure out how they can stop keeping everything in their brains and maybe putting it into somewhere that actually makes sense, and that they’ll actually use. Because, just because you have a project management app, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to use it or it’s the wrong thing for you.

Okay. So, final scenario, and this one is the prepping your business for growth scenario. For us, when clients come to us, and they’re in this scenario, it looks a little something like this. Business is actually going well, things are pretty efficient. Your team members are humming along. Now, it’s not 100% perfect, there’s always going to be bumps in the road. So, what do you get to do when you’re in this situation is, the CEOs in the business gets to look forward.

Compared to the last scenario, instead of making your systems currently better, you’re looking ahead and creating systems to support that growth in the future, because of course, your growth is inevitable. So, you’re looking forward, you’re thinking about, “Okay, if I want to double, triple or quadruple my client capacity or revenue or team members, what do I need to have in place so that when I get there, I’m not bringing people into my chaos?”

[00:21:06] Terri M. LeBlanc: Yeah, definitely. That chaos, it’s never, not necessarily a good thing, when you’re trying to bring on new team members, new clients, and you want to have everything in a good space, when you do start to grow. So, it seems as seamless as possible.

[00:21:21] Veronica Yanhs: Yeah. When our clients come to us in this stage, one of our favorite things to do is to actually lean on their team, right? Because this team is going to grow with you, hopefully, and by leaning on them, asking for their input for where we can improve, because they’re the ones that are focused in the departments or the roles that they’re in, it gives them a sense of buy in and ownership in their part of your growth so that it’s not all on you and that this amount of work and accountability is decentralized in a way. You as the CEO, are in charge of, if your business makes it or breaks it. It’s like you have a team to support you and more brains are better than one.

So, when they are able to tell you things or give us input to things that you might not see as a CEO, it really allows us to create better systems for our clients. So, Terri, can you share the story about how one group needed to use a certain software because it was anchored in what they were doing for their work, and the operations manager actually wasn’t aware of how it needed to be run or used, but they were core to the situation anyways.

[00:22:34] Terri M. LeBlanc: So, what we did is we had a conversation with operations manager, asking her, if she could identify somebody that was on the team that using this piece of software. Usually there’s a person that is that super user on your team, or really has a good understanding of the process, or how something is done. We identified that person and then we scheduled a Zoom meeting with that person. And we said, “Okay, treat us like we are a new person on your team. We’re going to record this and walk me through all the ins and outs of this piece of software.”

So, we recorded it. We delivered that to the client and we also snip some key things out of it for them, just edited the video down so they could use that in different training scenarios. We always encourage people to find those super users, those people that have all that knowledge stored in their head, they just seem to know it. Because those people will really help you in this growth process, developing the processes are going to get you to that next level.

[00:23:34] Veronica Yanhs: I love that. Another example that I have is one of our clients was like, we are ready to grow, and everything is working great, like things that I just said earlier. But in order for us to do more launches, to do more product launches, and to make sure that our team members are not dropping balls and make sure that there is enough time for revisions and all that good stuff, we need to have better project management templates and timelines and all that good stuff.

So, then, what we did was we interviewed a lot of the team members, and we got a lot of great feedback. They’re like, “Yeah, these launches are working currently well, but what could be better is if we baked more time into the design process or the review process so that I don’t feel like I’m just throwing things together. And then without checking it two days later, it goes live.” Being in the stage, working on your operations, allows you to constantly find out what is better, because you’ve done it and you know that things are pretty good, but there’s always room for improvement. You’re not exactly panicked, but you know that there are greener pastures on the other side.

This is crucial because if they continue to double or triple the amount of launches that they did in the subsequent years, it would quickly become unsustainable and team members would burn out. So, we nip that in the bud now and revamp their project management to make sure that they could successfully do what they wanted to do without burning out.

[00:25:03] Terri M. LeBlanc: Well, I think those are both great examples. We’ve worked with lots of clients and we could probably do an entire episode of just examples of things, like this, for our clients. So, I think the important thing to take away if you are in a stage in your business where you want to grow, you want to take it to the next level, that now is the time to start looking at your operations, auditing them and figuring out what needs to be changed, updated, to help you get to that next level. Certainly, we are here to help you get to that next level.

[00:25:33] Veronica Yanhs: Absolutely, growth doesn’t have to be painful. If there is a crucial point in your operations that I can echo what Terri said, it would be that you need to make operations a priority now if you want your growth to be seamless. So, constantly auditing what it is that you are using in your business, how it’s run, it’s essential. If this is something that you’re like, “Okay, I’m ready, Veronica. Operations are important.” We would love to audit your business, because that’s exactly what the assessment day is all about. We literally are going into your business and assessing, “Okay, what is it that you want to do? Where do you want to go? And are the systems in your business operations supporting you to getting there in a sustainable fashion?” If the answer is no, as you’re listening to this, it means that there is room for improvement, and we would give that to you in terms of an operation strategy and roadmap.

The reason why we’re so passionate about this, and we’re not afraid to pitch your services is because we’ve had clients come to us who have purchased all the E-courses, have tried all the technology, have purchased templates, but nothing has worked for them. It’s because it’s not specific to their business. It doesn’t honor the nuanced way in which they want to grow their business because when you template something or when you have an E-course, there’s a sense of generality to it that you just can’t help. So, our assessment is very much tailored to your business needs, goals, pain points and desires, and we love to end this episode with book and assessment with us.

[00:27:18] Terri M. LeBlanc: You don’t have to take our word for it. Here’s, Alyssa, with a few words about what it was like working with Business Laid Bare.

[00:27:26] Testimonial: Before I felt very scatterbrained everything was just all in my head, or in separate random apps. And it felt very confusing day-to-day figuring out what I needed to be doing. And also feeling like everything was just another fire that needed to be put out. And the worst part was, I feel like my clients were also feeling it as well, because I would take a really long time to get back to them. And for the price that I’m charging, it felt like I wasn’t providing that level of service. I knew that I was ready to invest. When I tried to do it myself. I bought three different systems courses, they all came with tons and tons of templates. And I still didn’t know exactly how it worked for my business. And then I was just like, you know what, let me just stop and actually reach out to someone who will go into my business and help me out with what I actually need to do. I first I just love seeing roadmaps and systems and all that stuff. So when I went to the website and saw what the assessment looked like, that was extremely exciting, because I’m a very visual person to see what I’d actually be able to then get for myself. And I just resonated with you and the content and everything. So it just made me really excited to even just reach out to you. So much has changed in this like short time. I’m just having ideas on how I can serve my one on one clients better in a way that I actually enjoy, how I can actually structure my work week in a way that I actually enjoy. And also I’m getting serious about creating that knowledge base, which is just in my head. And now I’m like, okay, you need to do this so that you can get the end result that you actually want. And I feel actually motivated to do these things.

[00:27:29] Veronica Yanhs: Thanks for listening to The Business Whip, hosted by yours truly, Veronica Yanhs, CEO and Founder of Business Laid Bare. If you enjoyed this episode, spank that subscribe button in whichever podcast app you’re listening in and share this with your friends. Your support means everything, so thank you from the bottom of my butt because let’s be real, it’s so much bigger than my heart. I’ll see you in the next episode.

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